Over the past three months we have all had great fun proposing, and arguing, prospect rankings and draft selections. With about four days to go before the real thing I'm issuing my final opinion for Baalke's (and your) consideration.
Draft Needs The Niner most important positional needs in the 2010 draft, in priority sequence, are: 1. ORT, 2 CB, 3. FS (if converting Goldson to SS) or SS, 4. WR2 (to improve over Morgan), 5. COPRB, 6. OLB (to add more pass rush), 7. OLG (to improve over Baas), 8. LDE (to improve over Sopoaga, although Balmer may be an option), 8. NT (in the event that Franklin doesn't reup next year), and 9. ILB (to eventually replace Spikes). Acquiring Ginn eliminates the need to draft Spiller in round one (for KR/PR) or for a pure KR/PR in a later round.
Need for Pick 13 I believe that Berry, Okung, Bulaga, Trent Williams and Dan Williams will have already been drafted by Pick 13. While talented, I'm not convinced that Davis can mature and develop enough of a work ethic to fulfill his potential - I believe that 13 is too high a pick to justify such a risk; he could be great, but he could also be not-so-great. At this point in the draft, Mike Iupati will be the best (and surest) offensive lineman available; but, he will probably be best at OG and we need an OT; Solari/Brown might be able to successfully convert Iupati to OT over time but that attempt could also fail - again, too much risk for the 13th pick. I therefore conclude that our best "sure" selection for ORT is Rodger Saffold. While many scouts have Saffold ranked to be picked in the first half of the second round, but before the Niners' pick at 49, some mock drafts now have Saffold going to Indianapolis at Pick 31. We should be able to get him before pick 27 by Dallas, who might also consider Saffold. So, I conclude that the Niners should trade down from Pick 13 to somewhere in the 20s but before 27.
SUGGESTED DRAFT STRATEGY
Pre-Draft Trade The Philadelphia Eagles have more picks in this draft than any other team. Their most important draft needs are C, OG and OT on offense; and, DE, OLB, CB and FS on defense. At Pick 13, most, and possibly all, of the following prospects could be available: C/OG Maukice Pouncey (Florida), OG Mike Iupati (Idaho), OT Anthony Davis (Rutgers), 4-3DE Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech), CB Joe Haden (Florida), or FS Earl Thomas (Texas). Therefore, I propose trading Picks 13 (960 trade points) and 182 (19 points) to the Eagles in exchange for Picks 24 (670 points) and 55 (270 points), so that the Eagles can select any one of those elite prospects fitting their needs.
49er Draft Selections
Round 1 / Pick 13: Traded to the Philadelphia Eagles
Round 1 / Pick 17: Kyle Wilson (CB Boise State)
Round 1 / Pick 24 (acquired from Philadelphia Eagles): Rodger Saffold (OT Indiana)
Round 2 / Pick 49: Morgan Burnett (S Georgia Tech) or Nate Allen (S South Florida)
Round 2 / Pick 55 (acquired from Philadelphia Eagles):
Dexter McCluster (COPRB / SWR Mississippi) or Koa Misi (OLB Utah)
Round 3 / Pick 79: Eric Decker (WR Minnesota) or Carlton Mitchell (WR South Florida)
Round 4 / Pick 113: Mitch Petrus (OG Arkansas) or Mike Johnson (OG Alabama)
Round 5 / Pick 145; Ted Ginn, Jr.
Round 6 / Pick 182: Traded to the Philadelphia Eagles
Round 6 / Pick 206: See below
Round 7 / Pick 224: See below
Select BPA from the following:
Defense: Hall Davis (DE LA - Lafayette) Offense: John Connor (FB Kentucky)
Arthur Moats (OLB James Madison) Shelley Smith (OG/OT Colorado St.)
Adrian Tracy (OLB William & Mary) Tony Washington (OT Abilene Chrst.)
Myron Rolle (SS Florida State Mike Kafka (QB Northwestern)
Zak Robinson (QB Oklahoma St.)
Danario Alexander (TWR Missouri)
There you have it.